House passes ambitious energy bill, Bush threatens veto

The first national renewable-energy standard. Revoked oil-industry tax breaks that will help pay for clean energy. Funding for green job creation. A carbon-neutral federal government. What’s all this, the deluded longings of some kooky environmentalist? Nope, it’s a few of the features of the massive energy bill passed by the U.S. House on Saturday. “We are turning toward the future,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). “This beautiful planet is God’s gift to us. We have a moral responsibility to preserve it.” The legislation — which notably requires utilities to generate 15 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2020, but does not address vehicle fuel economy — still faces hurdles: it must be morphed with the Senate version passed in June, then weather the withering gaze of President Bush, who has threatened a veto. But hey, let’s just be happy for now. The vote is “a big, big deal,” said Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.). “There has been no legislation like this for a generation.”